A tech veteran, Dr. Dakshinamurthy V Kolluru comes with extensive academic experience. He has held several leadership roles within the Education segment to build technologies for businesses. He is also the recipient of a Binani Gold Medal for work under the guidance of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to indigenously develop Radome, a critical component for Agni Missile.
In an exclusive interaction with Reshmi AR (Sakshi Post), Dr. Dakshinamurthy V Kolluru, CEO of uGDX Institute of Technology & TuringMinds, talks about the trends in the IT industry and why AI and ML should be mandatory courses in the college curriculum. He also emphasises the need for teachers to be actively involved in research.
Despite fancy degrees awarded by the university, graduates are not employable. Your comments?
One of the reasons why many graduates struggle to find employment is that the field is changing at an exponential pace. A curriculum that was updated once in ten years or even once in three years can quickly become irrelevant. This is why it is crucial that faculty members are actively involved in research and can teach the latest advancements in their field. This will ensure that students are well-equipped to handle the rapidly changing landscape of their chosen career path. We take career outcomes very seriously and hence even at uGDXInsititute of Technology we have the largest pool of PhDs along with other mentors, professors, and SMEs who are involved in constant research work to be able to enhance their skill proficiencies regularly.
Reskilling is crucial at every stage of one's career. What criteria should one look for in choosing an institute?
When choosing an institute for reskilling, one should look for factors such as the reputation of the institute, the quality of its faculty, the relevance of its programs to the current job market, and the support it provides for career development, as it will be pivotal in driving the tangible career ROI. Additionally, one should also look for evidence of the institute's impact, such as the employability of its graduates and the success of its alumni.
Data scientists are one of the most sought-after professionals around the world right now. What job trends do you observe in the industry?
In the data science industry, we are observing a trend towards more specialized skills wherein recruiters are looking for skilled professionals who could collect, clean, and consolidate Data and further use it for ML and AI purposes. This has increased the demand for Data Engineers at a rapid rate.
Other interesting sought-after job profiles include:
Data Administrators who could govern Database: install, upgrade, and manage database applications while also diagnosing and providing requisite troubleshooting.
Data Analysts could use their technical expertise while ensuring the quality and accuracy of that Data is retained. They use their storytelling skills to process, design, and present it in ways that enable business leaders to make informed decisions while also accelerating growth.
Data Scientists who could use predictive models to use raw Data/information to find patterns and develop solutions for driving business results.
ML Engineers are extremely skilled programmers and professionals who focus on statistical and model-building work to develop AI systems which in turn use a large amount of data to research and generate algorithms for making predictions.
What's the scope of work for data scientists in India?
In India, data scientists are in high demand due to the country's rapidly growing IT industry and an increasing number of data-driven companies. They work on tasks such as collecting, processing, and analyzing large amounts of data to extract valuable insights, creating and implementing predictive models, and developing data-driven solutions to business problems.
Some common areas where data scientists in India work include finance, healthcare, e-commerce, retail, and marketing. In finance, they may use data to forecast stock prices and assess risk, while in healthcare they may use it to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. In e-commerce and retail, data scientists may use customer data to create personalized shopping experiences and improve sales.
Data scientists in India also collaborate with cross-functional teams, including software engineers, business analysts, and product managers, to ensure that data-driven solutions are properly integrated into the overall business strategy. They must be well-versed in programming languages such as Python and R, and have a deep understanding of statistical and machine learning methods.
If your focus is on industry-specific training, then how do you source faculty for such courses?
When it comes to industry-specific training, we believe in partnering with industry experts and companies to provide a unique learning experience that combines theoretical knowledge with practical skills. This approach allows us to source faculty who have real-world experience in the field and can provide students with practical insights and skills that are directly applicable to their future careers.
Moreover, our partnerships with industry leaders allow us to stay informed about the evolving needs and demands of the industry, which we can then integrate into our curriculum. This way, our students graduate with a well-rounded education that prepares them for success in their chosen fields.
What kind of R&D goes into making your programs cutting-edge?
Given the rapid pace of development in ML Engineering, our educational programs must keep pace with the latest advancements in the field. That is why our R&D efforts are focused on creating cutting-edge programs that are aligned with industry trends and technologies.
We believe that the faculty delivering the courses must be actively involved in research and development to be able to impart the latest knowledge to the students. This requires staying abreast with the latest advancements, conducting regular surveys of industry professionals, and experimenting with new pedagogical approaches.
We aim to provide students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for success in the workforce. By staying ahead of the curve, we ensure that our students receive a relevant and valuable education that sets them apart in the job market.
Do you customize your programs for corporate training?
Yes, we at uGDXIT believe in providing customized training solutions for corporate clients. We understand that the training needs of companies can vary widely, and that is why we take a personalized approach to our corporate training programs.
Our approach involves working closely with companies to gain a deep understanding of their specific requirements. We then incorporate real-life case studies and practical examples from the industry into our training programs to make the learning experience relevant and engaging. Our faculty, who are involved in active research, impart the latest technologies to the participants, making sure they are up-to-date with the latest advancements.
In the case of individual classroom training, our faculty bring their expertise and real-world experience to the table, ensuring that our students receive a comprehensive education that prepares them for success in the workforce.
Do you think Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning should be mandatory courses in the college curriculum, given their application?
Yes, I believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) should be mandatory courses in the college curriculum. This is based on the fact that AI and ML are transforming the world we live in, and it is becoming increasingly important for students to understand their applications and implications.
According to upGrad, Asia's higher edtech leader, the demand for AI and ML professionals is growing at an unprecedented rate, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years. By incorporating these subjects into the college curriculum, students will have a better understanding of these technologies and will be better equipped to meet the demands of the job market.
Moreover, AI and ML have far-reaching implications for various industries, including healthcare, finance, and transportation, among others. By studying these subjects, students will have a better understanding of the ethical, legal, and social issues associated with the use of these technologies.
I believe that incorporating AI and ML into the college curriculum will provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in a rapidly evolving job market, and help them make informed decisions about the use and implementation of these technologies.
How hard would it be for non-IT professionals to learn ML and AI?
Learning ML and AI can be challenging for non-IT professionals, but it is not impossible. It requires a strong foundation in mathematics and computer science, as well as a willingness to learn new concepts and techniques. However, with the right resources and support, anyone can learn these skills and apply them in their work.
Do you think the reason Indian students go abroad for higher studies is that the programs offered here are outdated?
The reason many Indian students go abroad for higher studies is often because of the limited availability of relevant and up-to-date programs in India. However, with the growth of edtech companies in the country, this is beginning to change, and more and more students can access high-quality education that is relevant to their career goals.
Do you think it's time colleges make their courses industry-relevant?
Yes, we believe it is time for colleges to make their courses more industry-relevant. This can be achieved by incorporating the latest industry trends and technologies into the curriculum, as well as by partnering with industry experts to provide practical, real-world training.
What kind of salary can a fresher who's completed this course expect? (For the benefit of our readers)
The earning potential for freshers after completing one of our courses can vary widely depending on their skills, experience, and the industry they choose to work in.
For entry-level positions, the average salary is in the range of Rs 6 to Rs 7 Lakhs. However, for advanced positions such as an ML engineer, the earning potential can be significantly higher, with salaries ranging from 30 to 40% more than a regular programmer and up to 70% more than a tester in a non-tech role.
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